Gavin Wimsatt has now started 12 games in his Rutgers career. While he’s had mixed results and struggles with accuracy, the redshirt sophomore has made progress this season. He made a critical mistake
In fact, Wimsatt can reasonably be considered a middle tier Big Ten quarterback this season. In the league, he’s 5th in QBR rating and eighth in Pro Football Focus grading.
There are areas Wimsatt must improve. However, I also think offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca is still learning how to best utilize Wimsatt. Putting him in passing situations without the ability to mix the play calls up has been a challenge at times. Having Wimsatt take more shots with his legs should be a point of emphasis as well.
If you look at Rutgers history, the best two quarterbacks of the past 15 years were Mike Teel and Gary Nova. Both struggled in their first two seasons at RU.
Teel, who I think is the best QB in program history, threw just 2 touchdowns and 10 interceptions his freshman year on just 102 pass attempts. As a sophomore, Teel has 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in the glorious 2006 season. His last two seasons, Teel became a prolific passer throwing for 3000+ yards and 20+ touchdowns both years.
Nova had 16 interceptions as a sophomore and struggled mightily in the bowl game loss to Virginia Tech. However, his senior season was tremendous. He led Rutgers to 8 wins and had the third highest quarterback rating in the Big Ten.
Rutgers stayed the course with both quarterbacks and they ultimately produced at a high level. One quarterback that wasn’t given that opportunity, Tom Savage, left and achieved at a high level somewhere else.
Asked in his game week presser how Wimsatt has responded to adversity this season, Schiano noted a clear difference.
“Much better. I think that isn’t just, though — I think everybody likes to make that an emotional thing. I think it’s that he knows he’s trained, and he knows he’s put the time in,” Schiano said. “When those plays happen, all right, they made one. As I always say to them, they are on scholarship, too, guys. You know, those coaches get paid as well. They are not a volunteer team with a bunch of volunteer coaches. That’s a Big Ten program, and they are going to make some plays. As long as you’re trained and you believe and you trust your training, I think that gives him confidence to say, well, they got one; I’m getting the next one. And he did. He came back, and as I told him when he came off, I always ask him, “What did you see,” because I want to know what he thought. And then I said, “Well, let’s keep gunning, Man. Second half, let’s go.”
Rutgers fans should keep their faith in Wimsatt and his continued development. I discuss this in detail on Wednesday’s episode of The Scarlet Faithful podcast.
Listen and watch below.
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